The Austin Cycling Association's recent newsletter provided some reminders about why all cyclists should stop at stop signs. Here are their Top 10 Reasons:
1. It is the safest way to negotiate a stop sign controlled intersection. Period.
2. It is the law and you are breaking the law when you don't stop. A ticket for running a stop sign in Travis County can set you back $200.00.
3. Want respect from people in cars? Respect the rules of the road.
4. You're a good rider. You can spot potential dangers at an intersection without stopping, so you glance around and roll through. This approach works every time until the time that it doesn't. Then, what is the cost? A broken arm? A broken neck? Worse? A quick stop for time to double-check is worth it.
5. Future generations of cyclists are watching you. Help parents who are teaching their child to ride safely around the block by setting a good example.
6. Every time you maneuver your bike at slow speeds and every time you stop and start your bicycle, you deepen your relationship with your bike. You know how the bike feels the moment before you need to put your foot down. You know where to put your pedal for a smooth transition from stopped to moving. Eventually, your body does all of these things so naturally that you can focus your attention on the conditions of the intersection. That is safer for you and for everyone else on the road.
7. Fitness. Once you're safely rolling, take a few hard pedal strokes. You'll be surprised at how quickly you are back up to cruising speed. That little burn in your legs is what getting stronger rider feels like.
8. Clipping back in sounds cool, especially in a group.
9. Get flipped off less.
10. When not racing Mark Cavendish stops at stops signs. It's true. I read that somewhere.
The bottom line is that your safety is your responsibility. By being good road users, Austin cyclists can be part of establishing an ethos of safety. Ultimately, isn't that more fun for all of us?
--David Tietz, ACA Ride Director